Jesus teaches His the disciples an intriguing prayer in Matthew 6:10:
“Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Embedded within the instruction is the notion that God’s will may not be happening on earth now and, therefore, we need to pray that it does happen. The reasoning goes like this: if God’s will were being done then Jesus would not tell His disciples to pray for God’s will to be done. Does this mean God is not a sovereign over everything that occurs? Is God contingent or dependent on us doing certain things (through prayer) to make what He wants come to be? If God is not contingent or depending on our prayers then what does He mean when he tells us to pray for God’s will to be done? Where is the balance in the application to my life of this passage and the other passages in the Bible that teach about the sovereign rule of God? There are some who resolve this tension by inserting the word, “let.” “Let your Kingdom come, let Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” While I appreciate the effort to clarify I do not think that adding this word resolves the tension. “Let” may dull the tension, but the interplay between God’s will happening now with what God wills to happen ultimately still seems to be, at best, muddy and, at worst, in conflict.
In seeking to get a handle on the tension felt between God’s will being done due to His sovereign decree and God’s will yet to be done as referenced by Jesus in this teaching, I sited a story written by John Piper called prayer and predestination that outlines a conversation between the characters “prayerful” and “prayerless”. I think the story is helpful to frame the interplay surrounding praying for God’s will to be done.